Personality and Culture in Eastern European Politics

Personality and Culture in Eastern European Politics

Personality and Culture in Eastern European Politics

Personality and Culture in Eastern European Politics

Excerpt

Throughout many centuries, the area between the Baltic and the Mediterranean has remained the center of an unending struggle between the Eastern and the Western world, and a crossroads of conflicting cultures, religions, and political and economic systems. Such a situation has made Eastern Europe a particularly important "laboratory" for the study of intercultural, interpersonal and power relationships. Eastern Europe has been also a standing challenge to social scientists to find ways to stabilize a "problem-area" whose upheavals, convulsions and warfare have often spread far beyond its borders, and have twice in the recent past inflamed the whole world.

Soon after its conquest by the Roman legions, in the first century A.D., this part of Europe became the battlefield of a conflict between Hellenization and Romanization. Then, when the Roman Empire was divided into its eastern and western parts, in the fourth century A.D., Eastern Europe became a contested region between Byzantium and Rome. Then, when the Christian Church split into two branches, the Eastern and the Western, this area became the heart of the strife between Eastern Orthodoxy and Western Christianity. That struggle took on a political, as well as cultural, aspect that lasted many centuries and is not yet ended.

After the fall of Constantinople, in the fifteenth century, and even before that event, Mohammedanism and Christianity fought a battle for the control of Eastern Europe that lasted until the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire in the twentieth century. With the rise of modern nationalism in the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Pan-Slavism entered this arena and engaged with Pan-Germanism in a contest that only sharpened the age-old antagonisms. In the present day, the clash between Soviet totalitarian socialism and Western liberalism is nothing but a new form of an old . . .

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